Sunday, July 4, 2010

When We Were English, Part V

The Turbulent Life of The Right Rev. John Holyman, Installment 2
by Glenn N. Holliman

Below we continue the paper of John Holyman that Miss Peggy Cattell presented in 2005 to the Cuddington Historical Society, Buckinghamshire, England.

"John went to school in Winchester (a prestigious school, second only to Eaton), probably at the age of eleven and developed into a fine scholar. From there he entered New College, Oxford and was awarded the Bachelor of Divinity in 1526. For a short time he was rector in Colerne (in Ireland) but this did not suit him. He turned to Oxford, this time to Exeter College, where he acquired a Doctor of Divinity degree.

New College, top right on the above map, is just inside the Old City Wall in Oxford. Not so new, New College was founded in 1379. Center left of the map is Exeter College, a bit older founded in 1314.

"After this second time at Oxford, Dr. Holyman became a monk at St. Mary's Abbey, Reading."
This stained glass window at the Bristol, England Cathedral is of the founder of the abbey which later became the Cathedral where The Rt. Rev. John Holyman presided from 1554 - 1558. Brother John Holyman, when a monk, would have worn a habit such as above and had tonsured hair. Photo by Barbara Holliman.

"By this time, he was known as a brilliant scholar, a man of great piety and most eloquent preacher - fine qualities but not ones to blaze his name over the country, but this was soon to come. "

"The age in which he was living was one of great religious upheaval. Up to 1517 all of Europe belonged to the Roman Catholic Church owing allegiance to the Pope. In Germany, Martin Luther spoke out again the selling of indulgences - that is people being offered the chance to buy themselves absolution from their sins. Luther believed that only through faith in Jesus Christ could sins be absolved. His concerns spread and a wide rift developed in the church. Those who protested again the Pope and Roman Catholic Church came to be known as Protestants."

" Holyman's abbot became concerned at what he described as this Lutheran Heresy spreading to England and he sent his best preacher up to London to speak against these thoughts at St. Paul's Cross. And so Holyman was thrust into the centre of this important conflict!" (Speaking at St. Paul's Cross in the 1500s would be today's equivalent of appearing on all the major television news channels.)

In the next posting, the Reformation and a Royal divorce engulf King Henry VIII, his Queens Catherine and Ann Boleyn, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Sir Thomas More and our own Brother John Holyman.

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